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Thimerosal Does Not Cause Autism

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the nice-theory-though dept.

Biotech 298

jamie found an article over at Washington Monthly discussing the recent finding that there is no link between thimerosal and autism. It seems that after the mercury-based vaccine preservative was withdrawn from use in 1999, no drop in autism rates has been observed in a large California study. Here's the Science Daily writeup on the study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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And it isn't even used in vacciens anymore (2, Interesting)

clonan (64380) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958656)

That chemical preservative isn't used anymore because of Autism fears...

Because of that our vaccines are significantly les stable and have shorter shelf lives!

Re:And it isn't even used in vacciens anymore (1)

rla3rd (596810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958896)

Have you had a flu vaccine lately?

Thimerasol is in the majority of those.

Have they done any studies on the children of pregnant women receiving their recommended flu vaccine?

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/thimerosal.htm [cdc.gov]

Re:And it isn't even used in vacciens anymore (3, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958900)


Don't forget the added "benefit" that now people are extra scared of vaccines because of all of this.

Re:And it isn't even used in vacciens anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959350)

Just dumb people.

Which would fine if it weren't for the fact that there are so many dumb people. A few idiots refusing to get vaccinated against extremely dangerous diseases because of something Uncle Herb told them he heard from his buddy down at the fish factory aren't a problem. They'll simply start to self-select without any serious repercussions.

Unfortunately, when you have droves of slobbering dolts doing it, some of them will inevitably survive and increase the risk of mutation, hampering or eliminating the effectiveness of vaccines for the rest of us....

I would again like to float the notion of breeding licenses tied to IQ test results....

Re:And it isn't even used in vacciens anymore (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959790)

It's called natural selection dickhead!!!

It is what allowed our species to survive for thousands of years. Every now and then the gene pool needs a good cleansing, hopefully it starts with you and your shit "vaccine".

If you had an IQ you would question things rather than blindly obey.

Re:And it isn't even used in vacciens anymore (1)

LoofWaffle (976969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961026)

If you think thimerosal-based vaccines are so safe you should consider the latest flu vaccine in a lead-based hypodermic. Heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic) do, in fact, affect the CNS http://www.emedicine.com/EMERG/topic237.htm [emedicine.com] and cause dysfunction in children. Many, but not all, children's vaccines are thimerosal-free or use thimerosal as a binding agent during the mixing of multiple vaccinations. http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/thi-table.htm [vaccinesafety.edu]
In the latter case, the thimerosal is removed, but a trace amount still remains. Is this trace amount the sole cause? Likely not, but for those with a genetic predisposition it could be a trigger. The initial scare of developmental disorders associated with vaccinations are largely derived from a rescinded study on the link between autism and thimerosal from a competing vaccine manufacturer. Unfortunately, the name of the initial study escapes me (likely because my vaccine had thimerosal in it ;-)).

I agree with your final statement as it would assure an international ban on your procreation.

Re:And it isn't even used in vacciens anymore (2, Informative)

Mordac (1009) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958954)

This little nugget can't be understated. Irrational fear mongering has caused a lot of problems. The bad news is even after all the research showing there is no link, we won't get it back, so we have to keep looking for other methods (that maybe more dangerous and/or costly.)

Not sure I want it back. (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959896)

Regardless of the Autisim link (which was thin at best) ethylmercury hasn't had the sort of widescale toxicity tests that bioaccumulating mercury compounds (e.g methylmercury) have had.

Until that point, I'm not big on the idea of injecting a solution containing a large amount of ethylmercury into my body. Most mercury compounds aren't really anything that anyone would want to inject.

It's no better to be irrationally pro-ethylmercury just because it's a good preservative...The reason the uninformed freak out so easily is because we leave ourselves open to this crap by not doing to full research.

In other news (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21958784)

Parents of autistic kids look for someone else with a lot of money who they can blame ...

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

rhombic (140326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958978)

I don't think in most cases it's about money. As a parent, there's a very low-level part of the brain that has a real need to defend one's child, and that means identifying threats to them and protecting them. When something goes wrong, there's a huge emotional drive to figure out what caused it, and to protect any other children from that threat. I'm sure there are a few folks who are in it for the money, but I think most of them just feel a need to figure out what caused harm to their child. Have a little compassion, these folks are having to deal with enormous life changes for both their child and themselves.

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959614)

I do sympathize with these parents, profoundly. But the fact is that very few of them have the expertise or the knowledge to make valid judgments about this issue, and yet they continue to spread unsupported claims about vaccination as though they were facts. This is potentially harmful to others and should be curtailed, regardless of how noble or humane their motivations might be.

Re:In other news (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959770)

Well since the "experts" don't know yet what is the cause they feel justified in trying to help. For a lot of them that is what they are trying to do is help. Now the people that are doing it to make money off these poor people are the lowest scum their is.
I do tend to put my faith in doctors and scientists. Maybe that is because I know a few of them.
The truth is that they know Mercury is dangerous, they know that it is being put into vaccines that there kids have taken, so logically it should be looked at. It has and it doesn't seem to be a problem now we need to look for other causes. Of course the people that wrote the books and sell the "treatments" will say it is all a lie too keep the money rolling in.

Re:In other news (1)

u-bend (1095729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960272)

Hear hear!
The parents are often desperate and deluded, but I've more often than that seen cases in which unscrupulous "therapists" tout various types of undocumented snake oil in order to capitalize on that desperation. I've seen parents that will try all kinds of chelation, crazy diets, sensory therapy, etc. to no avail--and the lack of results often doesn't diminish their determination in trying these wacky treatments. They are fighting as hard as possible to help their kids and others are capitalizing on it.

The only thing that I've seen to be effective is the relatively straightforward, but also very difficult to consistently implement practice of ABA. [wikipedia.org] It's not sexy and it's not a magic bullet, but I've seen it used to teach autistic spectrum kids to do everything from shoe tying to reading and participating in a classroom.

Re:In other news (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961056)

"The only thing that I've seen to be effective is the relatively straightforward"
Currently. The thing is that there must be a cause. Probably a physical cause of some kind. Viral, chemical, or genetic. Probably a combination of genetic and some trigger. Once we know that we may come up with better treatments. Looking for the cause is a good thing, reacting out of fear and panic is a bad thing.

Re:In other news (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959704)


these folks are having to deal with enormous life changes for both their child and themselves.

I'm a parent and we get all the recommended shots for our daughter. She hasn't reverted back to a stage where she knows every postal code for every hamlet in Canada or whether a number is prime by looking at it. There's more weight to the idea that excessive TV is causing problems rather than vaccines. Maybe parents who use the TV as a babysitter and end up with an autistic kid don't like seeing the blame in the mirror, it's easier to blame a shot from 6 months ago.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960234)

Huh?

Well damn! (1)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958844)

And this news comes just minutes after I bought a case of Anti-thimerosal cream!

Re:Well damn! (1)

psxman (925240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959242)

You'd better watch out; I hear that stuff causes autism.

Re:Well damn! (1)

shar303 (944843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959534)

btw- anyone know who's on first base?

Re:Well damn! (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960058)

I thought that the fact that Who's on first base was common knowledge.

Re:Well damn! (2, Funny)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960194)

No, but I know that Wapner's on at 4.

But, but, but, (-1, Troll)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958846)

Wasn't this a scientific consensus? I thought scientific consensus was infallible, right?

Re:But, but, but, (1)

Mordac (1009) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958912)

No it wasn't. It was the consensus of fear mongering anti-vacationists.

It was a weak Hypothesis that has hurt the health of this nation by taking it serious.

Re:But, but, but, (3, Funny)

darken9999 (460645) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959004)

Why would someone hate vacations?

Re:But, but, but, (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959028)

"fear mongering anti-vacationists."

Yeah, we have a bunch of those here at work. I'm still taking my alloted time off.

Re:But, but, but, (1)

DeepCerulean (741098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959030)

"Anti-vacationists" huh? Luckily they should be completely burnt out in a couple years... Incidentally, I'm not sure I see how this does anything to "hurt the health of this nation"...

Re:But, but, but, (1)

Ugly American (885937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959860)

"Anti-vacationists" huh? Luckily they should be completely burnt out in a couple years...
Them and all the people who can't get vaccinated for legitimate reasons (weak or compromised immune system, transplant patient, etc.) You also have to consider the fact that vaccination confers resistance to infection, not immunity; people who are vaccinated can still get sick. Then there's the chance that a mutant strain of one of these illnesses could arise thanks to their precious little disease incubators - one that none of us are resistant to.

Re:But, but, but, (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959072)

Through spreading fear, life-protecting resource was made unavailable, as result putting human lives at risk.

Doesn't the act meet definition of terrorism by a chance?

Re:But, but, but, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959322)

Wasn't this a scientific consensus?

No, it never was.

But don't let that little fact get in the way of your chance to try to craft a superficial anti-science troll.

Re:But, but, but, (3, Interesting)

wilson_c (322811) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959554)

No, the scientists and physicians who claimed a link have been in a very small minority. Nice attempt to discredit the climate science by implication, though.

The anti-thimerisol movement has been driven largely by parents of autistic children looking for an explanation (I'm not unsympathetic, but that shouldn't affect the scientific method) and the anti-vaccination lobby, which is a mix of paranoiacs and people who can't see that a small number of vaccine-caused deaths is preferable to a larger number of disease-caused deaths.

There are actually legitimate health concerns related to the use of mercury as a preservative, but since they are not as dramatic or emotionally charged as the subject of autism, they seldom enter the discussion.

Furthermore, even in the case where scientific consensus MAY be wrong, it's most sensible for those not directly involved in research challenging the consensus to proceed as if it is correct, unless doing so were demonstrably damaging. For instance, it is pretty sensible to respond to climate change by increasing energy efficiency wherever possible. Worst case scenario is improved productivity, competitiveness, and profit. If, on the other hand, increased efficiency came at the cost of infecting every person with leprosy, then global warming denialists might have more of a point.

Re:But, but, but, (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960092)

Nice attempt to discredit the climate science by implication, though.

I wouldn't necessarily assume that. There are so many things he could have been attempting to discredit - why do you assume climate change?

For instance, it is pretty sensible to respond to climate change by increasing energy efficiency wherever possible. Worst case scenario is improved productivity, competitiveness, and profit.

You need to explain what you mean by "increasing energy efficiency" then. If we are talking about product design, then increasing energy efficiency could very well mean LESS productivity, competitiveness, and profit. If you are talking about lifestyle changes, well, bicycling to work rather than driving would definitely decrease my productivity, and moving closer to work would decrease my profit.

Re:But, but, but, (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960974)

It's a popular topic, and his signature line is: "Curb CO2 emissions: Kill yourself today!"

Re:But, but, but, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959692)

No, infallibility is reserved for God and His religion. (Which one? Why all of them of course.)

LOL

Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (4, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958880)

Given that the folks shrieking the loudest about the thimerosal-autism 'link' (as if a single study that's since been discredited many, many times can be called a 'link') tend to be parents of autistic children who also tend to go in for bogus new-age nonsense like 'chelation' and 'collodial silver' treatments, I don't think the whole nonsense is quite over yet. It's definitely a nice step in the right direction, but no amount of proof will really convince conspiracy theorists that their pet paranoia is without merit--they merely will claim that the 'truth' is being 'covered up' by the Big Pharmaceutical companies, and that the government is out to poison your children with the evil vaccinations that 'confuse your immune system' leaving you 'open to illness.' Most of them would benefit from a good solid course in basic logic (to overturn the fallacies they base their 'theories' on) and in basic biology and chemistry. The best we can hope for, I suppose, is that they'll select themselves out of the gene pool by applying nonsensical and hazardous treatments to themselves and their offspring.

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (4, Funny)

solar_blitz (1088029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959054)

Dear God, I would like to file a bug report.

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959504)

God's apparently like Microsoft...you can file a bug report, but you'll not get it fixed unless you decompile the binary and fix it y'self. Pity he didn't hand out a copy of the source code along with every chromosone set....unless that's what the Bible Code -really- is...

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (2, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959140)

"Most of them would benefit from a good solid course in basic logic (to overturn the fallacies they base their 'theories' on)"

I used to be a grader at Lehigh for the Informal Logic course - trust me, there are some folks you CAN'T teach logic to.

And if there's anyone out there who took the course between about '87 & '90: I'm the one who graded your homework "0 plus" on a scale from 0 to 2 - you may have handed it in, but there was no resemblance in any of your answers to anything remotely resembling logic. And you weren't the only one who got that grade.

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (2, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959442)

What I would like to know is just how much research have people like you done into the issue? And I mean PROPER research, not just newspaper knowledge of fragments you've gleaned over the years. Because I know a hell of a lot people, including some within the vaccine industry, who, if they posted here, could destroy every single one of your arguments.

Most of the so called "fallcies" you claim are far from that. The people I know who are anti-vaccine generally tend to be more intelligent, better educated and questioning than the people who aren't. They're more educated, and actually take time to read books, official studies etc... They're NOT just going along because of some "new-age nonsense". And to be honest, your attitude is sickening. If you had a child who was suffering from autism, you'd do anything you could to try and help them.

How many medical experts have you spoken to about vaccines? How many books have you read? How many studies have you read? This is the problem. The people who bash the anti-vax crowd have done very little research of their own and base their entire arguments on what little they know, and the commonly accepted knowledge. It has nothing to do with paranoia. It has nothing to do with merely anecdotal evidence.

Anyone who is at least interested in educating themselves should look up Doctor Sherri Tenpenny. (May be Sherry, can't remember right now.) She set out in the direction you have stated, to show it's all conspiracy theories etc... She wound up swinging the other direction entirely. She backs up everything she says with information on what FDA and CDC documents and reports she got the information from. (Another good book on the subject is "Just A Little Prick" by Hilary Butler.)

I realise I am wasting my time here, but I am sick of uneducated people bashing those who are anti-vaccine when they're uninformed. If you've done all the research and still feel it's bogus, then fair play to you. But I guarantee you haven't. You have taken a basic scientific knowledge, and think you know more than those who have spent years researching the issue.

For the record, someone I know contacted the FDA and CDC and asked them directly if they can guarantee that thimerosal is removed entirely from the vaccines. The agencies that are supposed to be overseeing this process of removing thimerosal are not doing their own tests, rather relying on the manufacturers own data and samples. Not independent randomized sampling. Of course folk will also dismiss this, despite the fact that, say, this was Microsoft source code being checked for something, let's say NSA backdoors, and Microsoft were essentially doing it themselves, there'd be uproar.

Please, educate yourself. READ studies on vaccines etc... And I mean government studies, not the PR material that the companies put out. As I said, if you do as much research as we have and come to an opposite conclusion, then fair play to you. I'm just absolutely sick of ill-informed individuals such as yourself condemning the opposite side.

And I'll leave you with this. http://www.hapihealth.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemi [hapihealth.com] not that you'll probably read it. To sum up, a group tested four different vaccines that claim to be mercury free, and found mercury in all of them in varying quantities. So the claims of "mercury free" are as bogus as those "new-age" activities you condemn. The link also includes links to the FDA indicating how much mercury is supposed to be in those shots. (Be sure to click the image to see the actual lab results of the vaccine tests.)

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959664)

Please, educate yourself. READ studies on vaccines etc... And I mean government studies, not the PR material that the companies put out. As I said, if you do as much research as we have and come to an opposite conclusion, then fair play to you. I'm just absolutely sick of ill-informed individuals such as yourself condemning the opposite side.

Please link to the studies you're talking about and I'll be glad to take a look at them.

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (3, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959690)

"What I would like to know is just how much research have people like you done into the issue?" Ad hominem attack. I would note that, as conspiracy theories are an area of special interest to me, I take great pains to research not only the nutbag nonsense, but the real science behind any claims. "Because I know a hell of a lot people, including some within the vaccine industry, who, if they posted here, could destroy every single one of your arguments." Appeal to authority. If you can't make your own argument, then kindly keep your mouth shut. "Most of the so called "fallcies" you claim are far from that." Caught two already. "The people I know who are anti-vaccine generally tend to be more intelligent, better educated and questioning than the people who aren't." I'm a bit rusty on my fallacies, for I've misremembered the name of this one--but no, you cannot claim that because your particular group is somehow 'smarter' your argument is automatically correct. It's a non sequitur. "If you had a child who was suffering from autism" Appeal to emotion, another fallacy. "How many medical experts have you spoken to about vaccines?" Appeal to authority, again. Namedropping the various folks at various departments of health whom I've spoken with about this will not 'prove' anything. The argument should stand on its own, without recourse to celebrity. "How many books have you read? How many studies have you read?" Many, including those disproving the only study to have claimed the aformentioned alleged 'link'. "Anyone who is at least interested in educating themselves" ...would do far better to take a course in basic logic and biology, like I said before, rather than reading that crackpot bit of nonsense. "I realise I am wasting my time here," Then why post? " I am sick of uneducated people bashing those who are anti-vaccine when they're uninformed. " Ad hominem, again. "If you've done all the research and still feel it's bogus, then fair play to you." I have, thank you. " someone I know" Friend of a friend third-hand knowledge is not valid for consideration, thank you. "Please, educate yourself. READ studies on vaccines etc... And I mean government studies, not the PR material that the companies put out." Yes, and that's why I know the alleged link was disproved. For someone who claims not to indulge in fallacy, you've certainly a great deal of it in your post.

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (1)

carlcmc (322350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960938)

wow. I just have to say what a great response kublaikhan.

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21961012)

Wow...

He puts the same level of fact (and coincidentally, about the same mix of ad hominem and frustration) as in your original post, and you tear him apart.

Mod Parent Up (1)

DeepCerulean (741098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959720)

Damn wasting all my mod points earlier today...this is by far the most intelligent response to the article...unfortunately, the /. crowd is hard pressed to read the articles that are linked here...there's no way the majority of them are going to go off and do actual research in *gasp* books

Re:Mod Parent Up (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959904)

This is an intelligent response? This kind of "if you were as smart and well-informed as I am, you'd reach my conclusion" sort of crap is now considered a brilliant debate style?

Re:Mod Parent Up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959986)

This kind of "if you were as smart and well-informed as I am, you'd reach my conclusion" sort of crap is now considered a brilliant debate style?

Welcome to modern leftism...

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (3, Informative)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960488)

Cite or get off the pot. Speaking of which, I would suggest this paper [ehponline.org] and this paper [informaworld.com] as a good start. There is major concern from Thimerosal toxicity in long term treatments, such as blood plasma programs, due to the introduction of more Thimerosal to the system then ethylmercury, the type of mercury that Thimerosal becomes, can be cleared. However, there seems to be more risk from dental amalgam then a single vaccination. Concern should be for long term series, such as a long term gamma globulin series, which is becoming rare.

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (1)

Drasil (580067) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960344)

I realise you were generalising, but I find your post a touch offensive. I am the parent of an autistic child and I have as much disdain for new age crystal swingers as any self respecting geek. Given that autism seems particularly prevalent in the children of technically minded people I suspect your assertion is unfounded. The rise in the incidence of autism cannot be explained by increased awareness and diagnosis alone, it's much too big for that. This would tend to suggest that there is some environmental factor that is causing autism on our children. I suspect that were some company to realise that it was responsible for this then there would be a lot of pressure to cover it up, such a cover-up may even be seen as right and proper according to capitalist ethics (preserve the stock price, protect the shareholders).

Re:Conspiracy nutters won't be discouraged (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960540)

No offence was intended; my assertion was meant to be that those who deny the efficacy of vaccines tend to be new-age crystal swingers (to steal your excellent turn of phrase) rather than parents of autistics are such.

Inaccurate (1, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21958882)

While it may very well claim 1999, that was when it ceased being PRODUCED. They still used the old stock and THAT wasn't cleared until at least 2001. Also the flu shot contains mercury, and is administered to pregnant women now.

Thimerasol has NOT been ruled out in causing individual cases of autism. Just that it is not the SOLE cause of autism. It's still a documented fact that US infants exposure to thimerosal increased starting around 1990, and that correlates with a huge spike in autism rates.

It doesn't say thimerosal is safe, the study just shows it's not the ONLY cause of the tenfold increase in the rates of autism.

Re:Inaccurate (3, Informative)

Mordac (1009) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959036)

Thimerasol includes Mercury in the way that Water includes Hydrogen.

The link to autism has never been there, every study has shown it. Its time to spend money looking for the real culprit and not blaming vaccines.

A more likely route is look at the age of the fathers, there seems to be evidence pointing to parental age having to be a likely cause of autism rates rising (that and the mass over diagnosis, and more mental illnesses being classified as Autism.)

This is not a simple issue. And the mercury = autism people are just trying to make it easier, and instead make it harder for everyone.

Re:Inaccurate (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959520)

Did you even READ what I put? Your opening remark is hilarious and you clearly are in the "condemn the anti-vax crowd will knowing absolutely nothing and being proud of it" demographic.

I love the way my earlier post is modded as a troll. NOTE TO FUCKWIT MOD: Having a contrary opinion backed up by actual knowledge is NOT a troll.

Re:Inaccurate (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959602)


I love the way my earlier post is modded as a troll. NOTE TO FUCKWIT MOD: Having a contrary opinion backed up by actual knowledge is NOT a troll.

Do you have links to your "actual knowledge" for verification? Note that GeoCities pages with animated spinning GIF skulls and flames are not considered reliable sources of information.

Re:Inaccurate (0, Flamebait)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959846)

Do you have links to your "actual knowledge" for verification? Note that GeoCities pages with animated spinning GIF skulls and flames are not considered reliable sources of information.


Here it is [brain]

But all joking aside, not all information can be linked, buddy. Like, experiential stuff. I know this is not good for proving a scientific theory, but scientific theory is not the only thing in the world, and many many things can't be proved, or remain unproved, and we accept them as-is.

So. Modding someone troll because you disagree with them, and they don't provide you with a link makes you an asshole.

Like when Patrick Volkerwhatzit from Slackware was dying, and he asked for help, anybody who told him to do something other than consult with an AMA-approved medical practitioner got modded down. And that's what he was already trying. Thanks a lot guys. Really watching out for people, there.

Re:Inaccurate (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960124)


not all information can be linked, buddy. Like, experiential stuff.

The anti-vaccine crowd claims evidence of a link. That should be available online if it's legit. Through work I have access to countless online scientific and research journals yet a quick search shows nothing linking Thimerosal and autism.

As to "experimental stuff"... Do the anti-vaccine people have a secret experimental lab where they generate all this information for release to their own? Why not release it to the world and really prove their case. Even if their experimental data is flawed, some other researchers may take the ball and run with it.

Re:Inaccurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960806)

As to "experimental stuff"...

Fuckwit actually said "experiential", not "experimental". Personally I think you should give fuckwit the benefit of the doubt and assume that he knows what "experiential" means and used that word deliberately. Because that actually fits more precisely with this particular brand of fuckwittedness--using big words to disguise personal anecdotes as data.

Re:Inaccurate (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959210)

Thanks for making the point for the posters above criticising the inevitable conspiracy theories - you are a perfect example.

Also, did you know that piracy is the definitive cause of global warming?

Re:Inaccurate (1, Insightful)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959546)

Just wonderful.

You should bare in mind the reason autism rates have increased is because the criteria for autism has been expanded since the 1980's. What previously wouldn't be counted as autism now is.

As demonstrated it's not actually going to discourage anti-vaccine scumbags.
The figure is something like if 10% of the population isn't vaccinated against an illness the herd immunity breaks down and an outbreak becomes possible. That's a nice thought.
Another nice thought is if enough of these jackasses pull the pharmacutical companies to court over vaccines the pharmacutical companies won't see any point in making vaccines (since they get wrongly sued for doing so) so they'll just give up that practice.

Now wouldn't that be a lovely situation?

You got that right (2, Insightful)

why-is-it (318134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959874)

You should bare in mind the reason autism rates have increased is because the criteria for autism has been expanded since the 1980's. What previously wouldn't be counted as autism now is.

That's for sure. My nephew is autistic, and I have met some of the other children who receive IBI therapy with him. I know that autism is a continuum and not a binary variable, but I think that calling some of those kids autistic is a bit of a stretch. Admittedly, I an no expert in such matters, and for all I know, the expanded diagnosis criteria is correct.

Still, I wonder if doctors aren't diagnosing some children with autism who would have been diagnosed as mentally disabled a few years ago. Either analysis would be very difficult for a parent to hear, but autism would be the least traumatic assessment.

Are your precious bodily fluids pure? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959820)

It's a commie plot to make us all autistic, I tells ya!

Re:Are your precious bodily fluids pure? (1)

Leftist Troll (825839) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960696)

It's a commie plot to make us all autistic

I first became aware of this during the physical act of love. A profound sense of fatigue and emptiness followed. Luckily, I was able to interpret these feelings correctly - loss of essence.

I can assure you that it has not recurred.

Re:Are your precious bodily fluids pure? (1)

VickiM (920888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961054)

So...we should only give our children hard liquor? :)

Re:Inaccurate (2, Insightful)

ultramk (470198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959922)

Thimerasol has NOT been ruled out in causing individual cases of autism. Just that it is not the SOLE cause of autism. It's still a documented fact that US infants exposure to thimerosal increased starting around 1990, and that correlates with a huge spike in autism rates. ..... It doesn't say thimerosal is safe, the study just shows it's not the ONLY cause of the tenfold increase in the rates of autism.

Correction, there's been a big increase in the rates of diagnosis of autism, which is an entirely different thing. Right before the so-called "spike" the medical journals were full of articles which resulted in the reclassification of behavioral problems previously classified under a plethora of different labels. This is natural, and a part of what happens when our understanding of a disorder improves.

In a related note, there are precious few cases of "consumption" being diagnosed lately, and yet the number of people with drug-resistant TB continues to rise.

Another example: for many decades, the estimate of the number of stars in our galaxy rose and rose, more each time a new monster telescope was built. Were the number of stars actually increasing, or was it just our ability to detect them that changed?

They'll just blame something else in vaccines (5, Insightful)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959064)

After all, other countries have eliminated or dramatically reduced mercury in vaccines with zero effect on autism rates, and the mercury fanatics never batted an eye. Nor are they troubled by the fact that the neurological effects of actual mercury poisoning don't resemble autism.

It's a bit like homeopathy in reverse. Many of these guys have a superstitious fear of "toxins," and no matter how low the level might be, they will be convinced that it is poisoning their kids.

Of course, the real problem is that the age at which autism symptoms develop is about the same as the age when kids normally get their shots. A reasoned explanation of the difference between correlation and causality is often beyond the grasp of parents who are desperate for an explanation, or better yet, somebody to blame.

Re:They'll just blame something else in vaccines (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959864)


It's a bit like homeopathy in reverse. Many of these guys have a superstitious fear of "toxins," and no matter how low the level might be, they will be convinced that it is poisoning their kids.

Well said. Unfortunately I used my last mod points earlier.

Re:They'll just blame something else in vaccines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960156)

Autism symptoms don't develop at 2 months, the time when the first vaccine is mandated.

Or, heck, even at birth, now that Hep-B shots before leaving the hospital are all the rage.

With "factual analysis" by morons like you backing them up, it's little wonder crap statistical analyses like "this doesn't cause Autism" is the major focus, when spending the money on finding out what *does* cause it would be real science, but that ain't happenin'.

If you had half a brain cell to rub together, you might also be interested in this article [rollingstone.com] , which has not been refuted by anyone. You'd think such a damning article would merit some sort of legal reaction due to the blatant accusations clearly laid out by the article's author in a national magazine. But keep your head in the sand -- besides helping you avoid seeing anything, it puts your ass right where the overlords like it.

This is established (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959078)

The link between thimerosal and autism has already been pretty thoroughly disproven [corante.com] . (Link to a blog rather than the paper because 1) it's a good summary and 2) I'm not sure whether the link is freely readable.) Whatever merit this hypothesis had in the past, any future work on it that "activists" manage to force clearly comes at the expense of projects that might be genuinely useful.

Trigger, not cause (0)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959084)

Thimerosal is indeed not a cause of autism. It triggers autism in those genetically predisposed.

It's like saying gluten causes autism because autism can be controlled through a gluten-free diet -- so we should all stop eating bread. Or better, it's like saying Nintendo causes epilepsy, so we should all stop playing videogames.

Re:Trigger, not cause (3, Insightful)

seebs (15766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959198)

A fascinating theory, but one as yet unsupported by data, and indeed, contrary to the data.

Even if it were just "triggering" autism, the removal of thimerosal would, eventually, result in a change of the frequency of observed autism. It doesn't.

Re:Trigger, not cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960466)

Even if it were just "triggering" autism, the removal of thimerosal would, eventually, result in a change of the frequency of observed autism. It doesn't.
There are still a lot of sources of thimerosal. Are you saying these studies showing no link removed all sources or just vaccines? For example they know the kids didn't get into their parents' nasal sprays and breath it? For that matter, that the mother didn't use one during pregnancy? How would they control for other sources.

It may simply be that the autism was 'triggered' by some other source than vaccines.

Re:Trigger, not cause (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959216)

Thimerosal is indeed not a cause of autism. It triggers autism in those genetically predisposed.

Except that study after study has now demonstrated that it does no such thing.

Re:Trigger, not cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959512)

Thimerosal is indeed not a cause of autism. It triggers autism in those genetically predisposed.

I await your thoroughly researched report published in a reputable journal with the appropriate, testable procedures clearly documented with a complete explanation of your repeatable results and how they relate to your hypothesis.

Until then, I'll just assume you made that up for god-knows-why.

Mod Parent Up: Genetic predisposition (1)

hostguy2004 (818334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959750)

I sometimes work with autistic children.

IMHO There is a genetic component. Many things "cause" autism - Its never one cause for a particular individual case.

Mercury (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959096)

mercury-based
It doesn't mean it's not harmful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_(element)#Safety [wikipedia.org]

Re:Mercury (2, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959296)

You should check out this stuff: http://www.dhmo.org/ [dhmo.org]

It's EVERYWHERE!

Re:Mercury (3, Informative)

Dr.Enormous (651727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959376)

Sodium(0) catches fire/explodes on contact with water.
Sodium(I) is critical for sustaining life.

Just because Mercury is toxic, and organomercury compounds will kill you stone dead, doesn't mean every single compound with mercury in it isn't safe. Oxidation state and ligands make all the difference. Linking to "Mercury hazards" is meaningless.

We'll all start listening to scientists any minute (1)

Dr.Enormous (651727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959148)

The people who really believe this have already reacted to the study and shifted their rhetoric to blaming some unknown factor in the vaccine. Because this issue is very personal to them, and they've invested a lot of personal energy in blaming the doctors/scientists, they won't let it go at this. Sadly, this diverts attention from actually doing reseach into real autism causes without some conspiracy-theory group breathing down your neck.

Flouride? (0)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959370)

Just a thought.

Re:Flouride? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959582)

Is that like fluoride, but used in bread and cakes?

Re:Flouride? (1)

Dr.Enormous (651727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959646)

Actually, because Americans are drinking so much bottled water, Fluoride exposure has decreased (resulting in increased cavities), so you would expect autism to do so too if they were related.

Re:Flouride? (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960882)

Good thing my local water source tastes like camel spit and you could build pyramids out of the junk it leaves on your dishes, or else they'd be poisoning me with their fluoride.

Isn't this too short a time to draw conclusions? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959422)

Currently, pediatricians are calling for autism screening to be standardized and performed at 18 and 24 months of age. However, there is no current standard for testing or for the age to test.

Taking screening at 24 months (autism can take up to 19 months or so before it becomes evident), that means the test is using 6 years of data -- 6 years during which the testing times for screening autism have changed and the tests themselves have changed. This means that a lot of children who would not have been flagged as having autistic tendencies prior to 2001 (when the test results would have begun being relevant) are now found. Added to this, in 2001 I believe the age for testing was closer to 3 years, which means the data is not as useful there either.

Based on the above, we should be finding that the number of reported infant cases has increased over the past 9 years -- the fact that it hasn't seems to me to point to a drop in actual cases of autism.

In another 5 years we will probably have enough data to make a conclusive statement; right now the margin of error is still quite significant.

Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21959834)

For evidence of a causal link, clearly we've got all we need and we're right.

For evidence that disproves a causal link, clearly there's not enough time/evidence to reach a conclusion.

Do I have your, um, logic right?

Autism detectible earlier than is commonly found (2, Interesting)

dtolman (688781) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960418)

From all the studies I've read, earlier definitive diagnoses of Autism are possible - at 18 months instead of 30, and early warning flags can be detected even in the first year.

I have no idea why these earlier tests aren't being used (looking for rapid excessive head growth, lack of eye contact, etc) - especially since they don't require fancy equipment or major investments.

I find the head growth particularly fascinating (here's a link to the abstract)
http://jcn.sagepub.com/cgi/content/short/22/10/1182 [sagepub.com]

Re:Isn't this too short a time to draw conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960450)

It makes me wonder what Google would predict [slashdot.org] to be the major causes. It might give us a few places to start looking.

I don't mean to be the guy everyone hates, but... (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959616)

'no statistical correlation' != 'doesn't cause'
'statistical correlation' != 'causes'

I know enough people who have observed a direct correlation between their children being injected with mercury and an observable shift in behaviour to be concerned about injecting mercury into my children. I also know enough people who have observed a correlation between chelation and improvement in the child's intelligence, even in later years, to try chelation if I ever have an autistic child.

I know that some people, when they consume a high-protein diet, they feel sick. I feel weak and tired if I don't. I know people who are very sensitive to bleach. If I spend any time around paint fumes, I get very upset, light-headed, and sick, in contrast with everyone else I work with. A small percentage of people who do cocaine have an aneurysm in their nasal passage and they die. I'm sure you know people who've done cocaine. I do (know people).

So the point here, people, is that if you want to call bullshit on something because it doesn't happen that often, the WTC attacks never happened (only once in 16 billion years, or whatever). Condoms never break.

I know a child who was fine before the vaccines, and a retarded biter who cried all the time immediately after. Now, maybe he is not the norm. Maybe he's got a genetic mutation similar to sickle cell anemia (low benefit to most people, but prevails in some) that makes him very sensitive to mercury poisoning. And maybe, just maybe, he's not retarded, and he's living a very productive life just like the rest of us. But I wouldn't fucking count on it.

Re:I don't mean to be the guy everyone hates, but. (1)

DeepCerulean (741098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959798)

Not disagreeing with you...just being an ass:

"I do (know people)." - Sure, you're "friend" right? *wink*

"the WTC attacks never happened (only once in 16 billion years, or whatever)." - Twice actually...but who's counting

Re:I don't mean to be the guy everyone hates, but. (1)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959886)

'no statistical correlation' != 'doesn't cause'
What? How the hell do you figure that? The recorded diagnoses of autism rose at roughly the same rate as vaccination using vaccines containing mercury as a preserving agent. Based on the subsequent hue and cry, the mercury preserving agents were removed. Thus, exposure to mercury as a preserving agent in vaccines has fallen to zero. Despite this, the number of autism diagnoses has not dropped. Therefore, there is no other conclusion but to say that the mercury preserving agent did not cause the autism. If it had been, we would currently be seeing a reduction in the rate of autism diagnosis. There could be something else in the vaccine causing autism, or something related to the vaccination process, but it can't be the mercury anymore because it's no longer there. Seriously, it's not rocket science. The rest of your post is what we call "anecdoctal evidence", and has absolutely zero relevance to the matter at hand.

Re:I don't mean to be the guy everyone hates, but. (0, Flamebait)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960582)

So correlation equals causation? If it causes 12 cases of autism per year, then that would not register in their statistics. What was their statistical tolerance? Was it zero?

References? How about it? Let us know, please.
Holding my breath,
Nathan

Any contradictory beliefs must be beaten down (0, Flamebait)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959816)

Yup, any contradictory beliefs must be beaten down, that has been my experience.
Just as in any beliefs or criticism that go against the large cooperate republican conservative mentality these days, all opposition will be beaten down, disrespected, humiliated, disregarded, labeled as crackpot, conspiracy theory or fringe.

Even this message I am sure will be labeled as flame bate, but I urge you to give this post some consideration that there is something more I am trying to point out, maybe a lesson to be learned.

Every post I have ever made on this subject gets hastily berated.

History has shown that there has been more to some of following then first meets the eye:

Global Warming.
Increasing gas mileage and alternate energy
Voting machine fraud, WMD's, Kennedy, John Lennon, Ghandi, Tim Leary,
GM vs. Organic food. Smoking causing or not causing cancer, Marijuana
Tesla, Laithwaite, Hutchinson, Darwin, Galileo, Copernicus, Columbus
Perendev, Searl, Cold Fusion, The Earth Being round, String Theory, E8,Quantum Physics , Roswell
Jesus, Moses, Noah, The Ark of the covenant, the chalice, Troy, 12/12/2012, the holocaust, revelations.

Yet all have been flamed, ripped on and disregarded without any logic.

Study the history of these things, and maybe you will start to see a different perspective of the world.

But for most these days, what's the difference, if it doesn't agree with your world view, Kill it rather then take a serious look and logical debate. So much for the hopes and efforts of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, these now seem like dead ideals.

So what ever happened Live and Let live. Or as someone I met in passing put it, What ever floats your boat.

If anything things like Charlie Wilson war and Iran Contra and Air America demonstrate that things can go down on much larger scale then you could ever imagine. Worse you'd never know or never believe it if told and shown absolute proof. You need to keep an open mind, both sides. Or are we just Lemmings doomed to follow our crowd where ever it leads?

Look, something is causing it, either come up with better suggestions, logical debates or back the (insert derogatory of choice) off.

Re:Any contradictory beliefs must be beaten down (2, Funny)

Dr.Enormous (651727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960030)

"One business-class ticket for the Crazy Train, please."
"Coming right up, sir. Enjoy your trip."

Re:Any contradictory beliefs must be beaten down (1)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960090)

Look, something is causing it, either come up with better suggestions, logical debates or back the (insert derogatory of choice) off.
Ruling out things that are not the cause is an excellent way to narrow down the number of things we need to study, and propel research in this field into looking in new directions. Proving and disproving are both valuable efforts in the scientific method. I fully agree that we need to keep looking for the cause of autism, but the fact that this study definitively tells us where not to spend time, effort and money looking does not in any way diminish its scientific value.

Re:Any contradictory beliefs must be beaten down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21960126)

...

"What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Re:Any contradictory beliefs must be beaten down (3, Insightful)

slcdb (317433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960900)

Most likely, there are a number of things that are causing a rise in the rate of children diagnosed with autism. What makes the anti-thimerosal camp so certain that it can be pinned down on any one thing?

Here are my top five "better suggestions":

5) Increased genetic susceptibility among the human race as a whole.
4) Increased awareness of autism spectrum disorders.
3) Better diagnostic methods.
2) Relaxed criteria for positive diagnosis.

And my #1 favorite:

1) Any of a number of synthetic chemicals children might be exposed to in increasing amounts today, rather than decreasing amounts like thimerosal.

It could be any combination of any, all, or none of the above. Chances are it's more than just one thing and, as this study suggests, thimerosal does not appear to be one of them.

Autism Isn't Rising (2, Insightful)

RiddleofSteel (819662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960052)

I met an Autism specialist who works for the school districts here in NY. She had some very interesting things to say about the increased rates. She said Autism wasn't increasing, just more children are being labeled Autistic. This is because children labeled autistic get all kinds of extra aid from the government that children who are just deemed learning disabled or have psychological problems don't get. So parents with mentally disabled children are increasingly encouraged to have their child autistic. It made sense to me, instead of some bogey man vaccine.

Age and volume vs. thimerisol (2, Insightful)

Borealis (84417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960102)

Curiously though I think there is a distinct lack of studies that show how the use of multiple vaccines at earlier ages affect autism. Given that a child's immune system is at best only partially developed before the age of six months, it's somewhat irritating to me that doctors regularly inject 7 vaccines at a time into children as young as 1 month of age. My own son developed infantile spasms (a degenerative seizure disorder) a week after his 3 month checkup where he was inject with the MMR, DtAP, and Varicella vaccines (MMR and DtAP each are combinations of 3 vaccines, giving him 7 total).

Anecdotally, of the 6 children in my son's special education kindergarten class, 3 of the children developed seizure disorders within a week of similar vaccinations, one of which was administered at one week of age. Most countries wait until at least 6 months of age before beginning the injections of MMR and DtAP vaccines.

Personally I think that thimerisol is a red herring distracting folks from considering any contributing factors of age and volume of vaccines administered. I think we'd do well to compare current vaccinations correlation to autism versus a program that staggers vaccinations with individual vaccines starting at 6 months of age to see how much that contributes to the rate of autism.

different labels for the same folks (1)

tyrantking31 (1115607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960514)

As the incidence of autism spectrum disorder diagnosis has increased so too has the incidence of mental retardation diagnosis decreased. Essentially children who would have formerly been diagnosed as mentally retarded are now being diagnosed as autistic. That or we've all but cured mental retardation. Yay science!

Re:different labels for the same folks (1)

Breakfast Cereal (27298) | more than 6 years ago | (#21961082)

Cite a source or you're no different than the so-called anti-vaccination new agers. In fact, that goes for pretty much everyone who has posted on this topic. Assuming the changes in diagnosis you've mentioned have actually occurred, do you know that the changes are equivalent? I have read elsewhere that the numbers do not work out, but just as in your case no source was cited, so I really don't know.

Sometimes the anti-vaccination side comes off as unscientific and hysterical, but they can be cut a little bit of slack given that so many of them are parents of autistic children who have an emotional stake in this. I think the other side of this debate comes off just as unscientific as well as arrogant and insensitive, and I would really like to know what their excuse is.

Would you risk your child? (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960626)

Honestly, will you put your son or daughter on the altar of science to prove a theory? Could you live with yourself if you were wrong?

I'm a recent parent who insisted on a thiemerasol-free vaccine for my child. Note that I'm not against vaccines -- I just asked for the one without the mercury. They're available and didn't cost anything extra.

Why? Because if there was even a 1/1000th of a percent of a chance that it could cause irreparable harm I wasn't going to take the risk. I don't put much stock in anecdotal data, but if I have the option I'll choose to be sure. I'm sure science will someday discover the true cause of this terrible disease, but until they know for sure then I'll make the choice that doesn't give me any doubts.

I know I can't protect my child 100% of the time, but this was an easy choice. Even in light of this report, I'll still insist against the mercury-based preservative. Not because I distrust science, but because it's one less risk to take.

Re:Would you risk your child? (1)

roca (43122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960894)

> Why? Because if there was even a 1/1000th of a percent of a chance that it could cause irreparable
> harm I wasn't going to take the risk.

So then, your child will never cross a road?

(I'm a parent, but this is ridiculous)

it's an easy debate (1)

phomet420 (1199393) | more than 6 years ago | (#21960924)

Does mercury cause autism?? The real question is do I vaccinate my kids or not. I don't know which side is correct, but if I don't vaccinate, 100% they won't get autism from vaccines. If I do vaccinate, where's the upside?
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